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547

ANSELM


547


ANSELM


wonder that he felt oppressed by this busy Ufe and longed to lay aside his office and give himself up to the delights of contemplation. But the Archbishop of Kouoii bade him retain his office and prepare for yet greater burdens.

This advice was prophetic, for in 1078, on tlic death of Herhiin, founder and first Abbot of Bee, Anselm was elected to succeed him. It wjis with difficulty that the monks overcame his reluctance to accept the ofiicc. His biographer, Kadiiicr, gives us a picture of a strange scene. The Al)l)<)t-clect fell prostrate l>efore the brethren and with tears be- sought them not to lay this burden on him, while they prostrated themselves and earnestly begged him to accept the office. His election at once brought Anselm into relations with England, where the Nor- man abbey had several possessions. In the first year of his office, he visited C'anterbury where he was welcomed by Lanfranc. "The converse of Lanfranc and Anselm", says Professor Freeman, ".sets before us a remarkable and memorable pair. The lawyer, the secular scholar, met the divine and the philos- opher; the ecclesiastical statesman stood face to face with the saint. The wisdom, conscientious no doubt but still hard and worldly, which could guide churches and kingdoms in troublous times was met bj' the boundless love which took in all God's creatures of whatever race or species" (History of the Norman Conquest, IV, 442). It is interesting to note that one of the matters discus.sed on this occasion related to a Sa.xon archbishop. Klphage (.I'^lfheah), who had been put to death by the Danes for refusing to pay a ran.som which would iin|)overish his people. Lan- franc doubted his claim to the honours of a martyr since he did not die for the Faith. But Anselm solved the difficulty by saying that he who died for this lesser reason would nuich more be ready to die for the Faith. Moreover, Christ is truth and justice, and he who dies for truth and justice dies for Christ. It was on this occasion that .\nsolm first met Eadmer, then a young monk of Canterbury. At the same time the saint, who in his childhood was loved by all who knew him, and who, :us Prior of Bee, had won the affection of those who resisted his authority, was already gaining the hearts of Knglishinen. His fame had spread far and wide, and many of the great men of the age prized his friendship and sought his coun-sel. Among these wxs William the Conqueror, who de- sired that Anselm might come to give him consolation on his death-bed.

When Lanfranc died, William llufus kept the See of Canterbury vacant for four years, seized its reve- nues, and kept the Church in England in a state of anarchy. To many the .^blxit of Bee seemed to be the man best fitted for the archbishopric. The gen- eral desire was so e\'ident that Anselm felt a reluc- tance to visit England lest it should appear that he was seeking the office. .\t length, however, he yielded to tiie entreaty of Hugh, Earl of Chester and came to England in 1092. Arriving in Canterbury on the eve of the NatiWty of the Ble,ssed Virgin, he was hailed by the people as their future archbishop; but he hastened away and would in no wise consent to remain for the festival. At a private interview with the King, who received him Kindly, he spoke freely on the evils by which the land was made deso- late. Anselm's own affairs kept him in England for some months, but when he wished to return to Bee the King objected. .Meanwhile the people made no secret of their desires. With the King's pomii.ssion, prayers were offered in all the churches that God would move the King to deliver the Church of Canter- bury by the an[x>intment of a pxstor, and at the request of the l)ishops .\n.selm drew up the form of prayer. The King fell ill early in the new year (1093), and on his sick-bed he was moved to repentance. The prelates and barons urged on him the necessity L— 35


of electing an archbishop. Yielding to the manifest desire of all he named Anselm, and all joyfully con- curred in the election. Aaselm, however, firmly refu.sed the honour, whereupon another scene took place still more strange than that which occurred when he was elected aljlwit. He Wius dragged by force to the King's bedside, and a pastoral staff was thrust into his closed hand; he was borne thence to the altar where the "Te Deum" was sung. There is no rciison to suspect the sincerity of this resistance. Naturally drawn to contemplation, Anselm could have little liking for such an office even in a period of peace; still less could he desire it in those stormy days. He knew full well what awaited him. The King's repentance passed away with his sickness, and An.selm soon saw signs of trouble. His first offence was his refusal to consent to the alienation of Church lands which the King had granted to his followers. Another difficulty arose from the King's need of money. Although his see was impoverished by the royal rapacity, the Archbishop was expected to make his majesty a free gift ; and when he offered five hundred marks they were scornfully refused as insufficient. As if these trials were not enough, Anselm had to bear the reproaches of some of the monks of Bee who were loath to lose him; in his letters he is at pains to show that he did not desire the office. He finally was consecrated Archbisho]) of Canterburj', 4 December, 1093. It now remained for him to go to Rome to obtain the pallium. But here was a fresh occasion of trouble. The Antipope Clement was disputing the authority of Urban II, who had been recognized by France and Normandy. It does not appear that the English King was a partisan of the .'Vntiiiopo, but he wished to strengthen his own position oy ;i.s.scrting his right to decide between the rival claimants. Hence, when Anselm asked leave to go to the Pope, the King said that no one in Eng- land sho\ild acknowledge either Pope till he, the King, had deciilcd the nuitter. The .\rcnbishop insisted on going to Vo\>v I'rban, whose authority he had already acknowledged, and, as he had told the King, this was one of the conditions on which alone he would accept the archbishopric. This grave question was referred to a coimcil of the realm held at Rockingham in March, 109.5. Here Anselm boldly asserted the authority of Urban. His speech is a memorable testimony to the doctrine of papal supremacy. It is significant that not one of the bishops could call it in question (Eadmer, Historia Novorum, lib. I). Regarding Anselm's l>elief on this point we may cite the frank words of Dean Hook: "Anselm was .sunply a papist; He believed that St. Peter was the Prince of the .\postles; that as such he was the source of all ecclesiastical authority and power; that the pope was his successor; and that consequently, to the pope was due, from the bishops and metropolitans as well as from the rest of mankind, the obedience which a spiritual suzerain has the right to expect from his vassals" [Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbun,-. (London. lS()0-75), II, 1S,3].

William now sent envoys to Rome to get the pal- liimi. They found Urban in possession and recog- nized him. Walter, Bishop of .Albano, came back with them as legate bearing the pallium. The King pubhcly acknowledged the authority of Urban, and at first endeavoured to get .\n.sclm deposed by the legate. Eventually a reconciliation was occasioned by the royal difficulties in Wales and in the north. Tlie King and the -Vrchbishop met in peace, .\nsclm would not take the pallium from the King's hand; but in a solemn service at Canterbury, on 10 June. 109.'), it was laid on the altar by the legate, whence .\nselm took it. Fresh trouble arose in 1097. t)n returning from his ineffectual Welsh campaign William brought a charge against the .\rchbishop in regard to the contingent ho had furnished and